"Two there should be; no more, no less.
One to embody power, the other to crave it."
– Darth Bane
Of all the Star Wars fiction that Lucasfilm cranks out like sausage, the only books that hold any appeal for me are the ones involving major characters from the Star Wars movies...particularly Episodes IV through VI (otherwise known as "The Good Ones").
Sorry...I just can't get fired up about a Sith Lord from 7,000 years ago or the solo adventures of marginal characters like X-Wing pilot Wedge Antilles. If I'm going to take the time to read a Star Wars novel, it's gotta focus on what I've termed "The Core Characters" (you know who they are). Further raising the bar, I gravitate toward Core Character stories that take place within the time frame of the six Star Wars movies, preferrably immediately before or after a specific film. For example, I'd much rather read Timothy Zahn's new Allegiance novel (taking place immediately after Star Wars IV: A New Hope) than his Thrawn Trilogy (which took place five years after Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi). True, both settings feature many of the same Core Characters, but the ones tied closer to the movies just seem more relevant....at least to me.
Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader easily fulfills both criteria, since it not only features Darth Vader (my favorite of the Core Characters), but also takes place immediately following the events of Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith. In other words, a no-brainer book purchase....and the perfect book for my plane ride to and from San Diego.
Written by experienced Star Wars author James Luceno, Dark Lord delves into the mind of Anakin Skywalker as he comes to grips with his new existence as a cyborg and his complex relationship with his master Darth Sidious, a.k.a. Emperor Palpatine. By the way, I have plenty of plot details ahead, so consider yourself officially Spoiler Warned!